At first pass, Gatehouse Media is an obvious force in Missouri’s rural media markets. When one begins to sit down with the numbers and do as Big Oil mouthpieces would have us do and “drill, baby, drill”, a very specific picture begins to emerge regarding their influence on Missouri’s 4th Congressional District.
It is a picture that shows an abrupt turn from what had traditionally a stronghold for Democrats, to the election of Republican Vicky Hartzler as the district’s representative in 2010.
When sitting down to take a look at the scope of the Ministry of Truth’s hold on the 4th, we first have to list the newspapers that fall under their corporate flag. The Ministry owns theLakeSun, Rolla Daily News, Waynesville Daily Guide, The St. James Leader-Journal and the Independence Examiner.
These five Ministry newspapers have a circulation that covers the following 10 counties:Camden,Dallas, Morgan, Hickory, Polk, Laclede, Pulaski, Lafayette, Ray, and Jackson.
Approximate population of Missouri’s 4th District (a proportionate estimation based on Census data for counties making up the 4th. This estimation counts the entire population of counties that are only partially in the MO 4. To maintain the ratio, the same estimation was used to count the population of Gatehouse’s potential audience.): 1,410,488
Approximate population (using same proportionate estimation as used above to maintain ratio) of Gatehouse Media’s area of influence in MO 4: 940,986
Gatehouse Media reaches approximately 50% to 67% of MO’s 4th District.
For those of us who live in rural Missouri, this represents the worst possible scenario. For those interested in a case study on the use of propaganda, it offers a window into the use of bias, misinformation and manufactured consent to influence the district’s acceptance of an agenda of extremism.
The Ministry of Truth has not had a mention of the following, as of the printing of this piece on Saturday, March 30.
The Missouri Senate passing a bill that will allow for an employer to decide whether or not to cover a woman’s birth control. While the argument that is constantly presented to us is that this is to fight back in an imaginary ‘war on religion’, the result of the bill would allow for employers to impose THEIR moral judgments on the choices of your wife, your daughter, your sister. It would also be a previously unconscionable intrusion on a person’s right to privacy.
Yet the Ministry has not printed a word on this.
Nor have they dedicated an inch of print to the Missouri Senate passing another piece of pro-corporate legislation, limiting a worker’s ability to sue.
In previously noted Ministry Cliff Note coverage of the Missouri Congress overturning the will of the people regarding the Prop B puppy mill bill and the pro-Monsanto propaganda surrounding it, we see the use of manufactured consent. We see the same sales pitch from the Lake Sun in the framing of a tax increase on the county’s residents that will offset a tax loophole for the wealthy. They are asking us to subsidize the wealthy directly and they are using their best marketing skills to sell it along a united front. It is funny how quickly the politicians, business owners and media unite in an attempt to bend the public in favor of voting for something contrary to their interest.
What is not so funny how easily they slip into the full court press of propaganda to subsidize their friends. Nor is it funny to threaten residents with loss of road service if the measure fails.
Their silence on other issues indicates how compliant they truly are in the breakneck speed with which we are losing our liberties and our rights, while corporations enjoy laws written for them, by them, passed by their flunkies. They abuse these purchased positions of absolute power while their extreme vision of marriage between moral superiority, corporate power and government is carried forward in the silence afforded them by organizations like the Gatehouse Ministry. This is the definition of fascism. It is not hyperbole or language chosen to make an inflammatory accusation.
What that means then, particularly for those Missourians under the sphere of the Ministry’s product, is that we are treated to the full effect of a compliant media partner in the usurping of our democracy.
This area was a traditional stronghold for Democrats, highlighted by Congressman Ike Skelton’s run of over thirty years in the Missouri 4th. That changed in 2010 when Vicky Hartzler was elected. A look at the results of the election illustrate the influence of the Ministry in the election of this candidate of extreme positions.
In the same ten counties listed above we see the following results, by county, for the MO 4th District.
County Hartzler Sketlon
Camden 58.7% 36.3%
Dallas 55.1% 36.9%
Hickory 45.5% 48.2%
Jackson 50.2% 45.0%
Laclede 56.3% 38.5%
Lafayette 41.4% 55.3%
Morgan 48.7% 46.3%
Polk 54.3% 37.7%
Pulaski 39.8% 56.5%
Ray 53.1% 41.9%
When you consider that Hartzler won the district by a small margin overall, the influence of the Ministry in rural areas is clear. Seven of the sample counties went for Hartzler, most overwhelmingly. The result is that now a small, minority view is representative of this district. Since taking office, her votes have been absolutely predictable and follow in the aforementioned goosesteps of the fascist march that threatens us all. Vote after vote, Tweet after Tweet (@RepHartzler) she unveils a dark vision for the citizens of this country while serving our country up to her wealthy masters. This America is echoed in the editorial slant and bias of Gatehouse’s Ministry.
Her office was the only one to feature an arrest during a visit from the Occupy movement, made up mostly of members of @OccupyKC. She and her office have shown that they do indeed practice what they preach both by virtue of vote and by use of police to avoid conversation.
History has shown that fascism (see also state-sponsored, unregulated capitalism) works best in a police state. A police state works best with a compliant media willing to endorse these tactics openly or by casting a blind eye and swallowing their collective tongue. .
It is also worth noting that these same sample counties overwhelmingly put Republicans in the State House and Senate. These same Republicans, by virtue of their voting records, have led the charge toward this American fascism at the state level. They have had a willing partner-in-crime with the Missouri’s Ministry of Truth, Gatehouse Media.
Next from @AmericanSpring, Media Outside the Ministry and the Occupy KC eviction. If you enjoy the blog, PLEASE share it with your friends and as always, if you are on Twitter, say hello.